The Ghana National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) says the importation of foreign rice into the country, especially to feed students in second cycle institutions, will soon be a thing of the past.
As part of its mandate, NAFCO supplies food to students of second cycle institutions under government’s flagship programme – the Free Senior High School initiative.
Speaking to 3news.com in the Upper East Region where NAFCO validated its warehouses and packhouses in the area, Chief Executive Officer Hanan Abdul-Wahab said that revamping the Builsa South Warehouse, in the rice-cultivating zone, will get farmers there produce more rice, thereby cutting down foreign rice importation into the country.
“Once we are able to produce what we consume, there is no point bringing in the foreign rice. It is government’s intention to actually cut off the importation of foreign rice.
“Today, if we say we are cutting off foreign rice, the local rice will not be able to sustain government’s flagship programme [of Free SHS].
“Gradually, we are reducing the number of foreign rice/food we feed into our second cycle institutions,” Mr. Hanan said on Thursday.
A representative of the District Director of Builsa South, Michael Anokye, who also spoke to 3news.com as the Bulsa South Warehouse was officially handed over to NAFCO, expressed optimism that the warehouse going to be operational will see farmers in the area cultivating rice on large scale.
“This year, for instance, some people [farmers] had more than 6.0 or 6.5 metric tons per hector [of rice],” he said, “meaning, if we have the valleys [at Bulsa South] developed, more farmers will come here to produce and once they produce and NAFCO is here, they know they have a ready market.”
An inspection at the Zuarugu Warehouse at Zuarugu, also in the Upper East Region, saw two KIA trucks loading bags of fertilizer that currently occupied the facility.
This, NAFCO says, would pave way for fumigation of the facility so it starts buying from farmers their produce to stock the warehouse.
A visit was also made to the Pwalugu Packhouse [a facility with inbuilt refrigerator to store fruits and vegetables] and also to the premises of the Navrongo Fire Service command, Navrongo, where a structure there would be renovated to serve as a temporary warehouse.
By Solomon Mensah|3news.com|Ghana